When it comes to brands producing homage watches, you certainly have no shortage of choice. There are all manner of mushroom brands haunting auction sites, as well as the more established – yet still built to an astoundingly low price point – brands turning out copies of watches that used to be. Then you get to brands like MKII who draw inspiration for their designs from those of the past (and are open about what those inspirations are), blend them together, and come up with something that is both recognizable and their own. Their latest foray is known as the MKII Hawkinge.
Even if you did not know that the MKII Hawkinge draws from British aviator watches of the past (specifically, from 1948 through the 1980s), your eyes should pick up on the stark utilitarianism that is the hallmark of a military watch. There are no frills or fancy colors, this is a tool designed to do a job, and do it efficiently. While you could go hunting for an original, you are then left with worrying about the health of the movement, and long-term reliability. Then again, if you are looking for the inspiration behind the MKII Hawkinge, you are going to be paying a premium due to the names on those vintage dials – JLC and IWC. Why not instead go with modern manufacturing and quality?
Then again, you could say that the MKII Hawkinge also draws inspiration from another of the MKII lineup, the QUAD10, which was the first MKII watch back in 2005. The MKII Hawkinge is a refinement of that original design, and a sharp-looking one at that. The case is a bit more compact (38mm side-to-side and 48.5mm lug-to-lug) which walks that fine line between being smaller (due to vintage inspiration) but also acknowledging that pilot watches were the original oversized watches (and, for 1948, 38mm would have been a healthy size for sure). Frankly, I find 38 – 42mm to be my personal sweet spot for sizing, so this one is in my wheelhouse. Here, I also really dig the fact that it results in just enough room for a shock-absorbing movement ring, rather than requiring some large spacer.
Also in my wheelhouse? The crisp black dial of the MKII Hawkinge with the white indices (some of which are lumed) and handset (lume just on the hour and minute). It is hard to beat the legibility of this sort of color combination. Pair that with the satin finish of the classic case shape and slightly larger crown, and you have a watch that calls out it’s military tool heritage without shouting it from the roof. In other words, it is a watch that those “in the know” will recognize, and those who know nothing about watches won’t give a second glance to. For those seeking attention with their watches, that’s a bad thing, but in my book, it’s a great way to go.
Also great? The price of the MKII Hawkinge. Whether you opt for the date or no-date variant (nice to see that choice as well), it will run you $595. While I have not see the MKII Hawkinge in person, based on my experience with the MKII Paradive – and the reputation of the brand – I would not hesitate to recommend this to someone who likes the more sterile style of older military watches, and is looking for a pilot watch that isn’t a flieger.
The only thing I might find myself wishing changed on the MKII Hawkinge is the strap (bet you expected me to harp on the date wheel, didn’t you? Well, it’s era-appropriate, so it gets a pass). The stock leather one seems nice enough, but a watch like this calls out for something more. What I might be tempted to do is to find yourself a shop that makes straps out of vintage ammo pouch strap (leather or canvas), and work with them to get something made that isn’t overly thick. Something with a great patina on it would look great with this style, as well as fitting the heritage of the design.
Then again, you could leave it on the stock strap (leather or textile) and build up your own patina, that certainly works as well. That all boils down to personal preference, so I won’t get too prescriptive there. However you’d wear it, I imagine the MKII Hawkinge will serve you well. Then again, maybe that’s just me, and all the world couldn’t give a leap about another crisp and affordable military watch hitting the shelves. If that’s you (on either side of the argument), sound off in the comments, and then let us know which one you would pick up yourself. Have another favorite “new old” military watch? Let us know about those as well! For me, I’m putting the MKII Hawkinge at the top of my list. mkiiwatches.com
- Brand & Model: MKII Hawkinge
- Price: $595
- Who we think it might be for: You like vintage pilot watches, but want something that isn’t a flieger-style
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes – I could definitely see something like this being “the” pilot watch in my collection
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I wouldn’t mind seeing a more vintage/aged-look strap option
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The clean and crisp utilitarianism
Tech Specs from MKII
- Case Width: 37.80 mm (not including crown)
- Case Length: 48.50 mm end to end
- Case Thickness: 12.75 mm
- Lug Width: 18.00 mm
- Weight: 80 Grams
- Crystal: Double domed sapphire crystal, with anti-reflective coating on interior surface only
- Luminous: SuperLumiNova BGW9
- Movement: Made in Japan SII NE15 (Rotor features Côtes de Genève), quickset date, hack setting, automatic with manual winding capability.
- Movement origin: Made in Japan
- Water Resistance: 10 ATMs (100 meters)
- Case Finish: Satin finished 316L stainless steel
- Country of Origin: Made in Japan
- Drilled through lugs
- Double gasket screw-down crown
- Strap: Leather strap ( tan ) or MaratacTM Mil-NATO ( black)
- Timed in 3 positions